Publication Date



Journal of Scleroderma and Related Disorders


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this study is to explore the role of adjunctive percutaneous revascularization of the hand in the management of patients with systemic sclerosis-associated refractory digital ischemia.

METHODS: We present our initial experience of using percutaneous upper extremity interventions to treat patients with systemic sclerosis and symptomatic Raynaud's phenomenon who presented with either refractory digital ischemia or non-healing ulcers. We discuss patient characteristics, procedural findings, and short-term clinical outcomes of these interventions.

RESULTS: We performed 14 interventions in 6 patients with non-healing digital ulcers or refractory ischemia secondary to systemic sclerosis. Angioplasty was performed at or below the wrist in conjunction with intravenous prostaglandin therapy, started prior to or immediately after the revascularization procedure. All patients experienced symptomatic relief and demonstrated accelerated wound healing. Two patients required an additional procedure to treat recurrent ischemia (without new ulceration) in the treated digit. Three of the patients underwent multiple procedures during the study period to treat new ischemic lesions or Raynaud's phenomenon symptoms, highlighting the progressive nature of the vascular occlusions in systemic sclerosis. There were no adverse events related to the interventions.

CONCLUSIONS: Our retrospective analysis suggests that percutaneous revascularization in combination with vasodilator therapy in systemic sclerosis-associated digital ischemia is safe and can facilitate the healing of long-standing ulcers. Its role in the management of refractory digital ischemia in patients with systemic sclerosis should be explored further.


Raynaud’s phenomenon, Systemic sclerosis, angioplasty, digital ischemi, digital ulcers



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